Take a trip back in time with us as we take a look at the best retro games on Nintendo Switch!
Nintendo are all about keeping old games alive for new generations of gamers to experience. It also gives gamers like me and Brandon a chance to relive old classics that helped to shape our childhoods, which is worth all the money in the world.
Thanks to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription and some other releases in both digital and physical format, I’ve collated a collection of some of my favourite retro games from my past on the Switch, delving back into all the greats from multiple platforms.
That’s right, we’ve got Sony smash hits, Sega superstars, and the greatest Nintendo games for both the N64 and GameCube.
Can you handle what’s about to come
… please try, otherwise I’ll be out of a job.
20. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
First up on our list of the best retro games on Switch is the mighty Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, the game that I spent every Saturday morning playing on the N64.
Yeah, this game and I have a strong connection, which probably accounts for how screwed up I am as an adult. I definitely played this when I wasn’t old enough, though it did set me up for being a boss at Horizon: Zero Dawn.
Wielding everything from a bow and arrow to a cerebral bore, this game had so much incredible firepower and weaponry that it blew my mind as a kid. And the enemies really
This game looks incredible up on the Switch, though thats probably down to the fact that I love playing everything in handheld mode because it’s way more relaxing.
In all seriousness though, Seeds of Evil has been given the special treatment and somehow manages to look retro while having a polished edge to it.
Yeah, it’s only got 6 levels, but with one of the best multiplayer modes of any hunting game and tonnes of gore and blood to wade through, you won’t have trouble coming back again and again.
19. Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII needs no introduction. It’s one of the best PS1 RPGs of all time and has recently received a stellar remake that has created tonnes of renewed interest with younger gamers.
As the first FF PAL release that we ever had over here in the United Kingdom, this game changed everything. Square didn’t think that they actually needed to release outside of Japan, but this game with a budget of 80,000,000 ended up selling 10,022,228 copies and is the second best selling PS1 game of all time!
Talk about impressive stats!
Players take a dude called Cloud Strife around as he tries to stop a company from draining his planet’s essence, Dark Crystal style.
There are three modes of play to navigate; heading out on the world map, discovering the mysteries hidden within the open world, and the battle screen.
There are so many characters and exciting areas to delve into that it hurts. And while this game closely resembles the original rather than the new remake, it’s still super fun to play.
18. Kirby’s Adventure
Kirby’s Adventure takes the 18th spot in this list of the best retro games on Nintendo Switch, the second Kirby game after the incredible Kirby’s Dream Land for the GameBoy.
Man, this game takes me back!
I played Dream Land so much as a kid that I could probably do it with my eyes closed now. The number of batteries that I went through was a bit obscene though, so when Adventure came out for the NES, it saved both my brain and the environment.
Plus’ seeing Kirby in glorious colour for the first time was like looking out on Rivendell or taking a step on the moon…
… maybe I’m exaggerating slightly.
This game is everything that you could wish from a 2D side-scroller. It’s full of joy and wonder, a true HAL Laboratories classic that has become a legendary game in Nintendo’s back catalogue.
Take Kirby through Mario-esque levels beating down enemies. Capture enemies, fire lasers, and float around on power stars.
Seriously, if you never played this game the first time around, grab a Nintendo Online Subscription and check it out today!
17. Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast
If you love your games with more Midichlorians than Qui-Gon Jinn and Yoda on a pub crawl, then Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2 Jedi Outcast should be right up your space street.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Star Wars… maybe the ones that I do are just lying to me, who knows?
In Jedi Knight 2, Ggmers take a retired Jedi around slaying bad guys.
Yeah, he’s retired; i didn’t think that a person could do that, but apparently he’s scared of going to the dark side so he’s sacked it off for a quiet life…
… wonder how that’s working out for him?
If you loved Dark forces and Dark Forces 2, then you’ll feel right at home with this game. Plus, who doesn’t want to wield a lightsaber and a blaster, taking down Storm Troopers in space stations?
It sounds like my idea of heaven!
Complete with all the iconic Star Wars sound effects and famous faces from the original trilogy, it could be said that this is the ultimate Star Wars game on Switch (not that there’s many…).
16. Streets of Rage 2
Now that Sega games are finally up on the Switch, there’s no excuse not to get on Streets of Rage 2 immediately!
Imagine everything that you loved about the original Streets of Rage pumped up to 100. Get closer to the action, use better beatdowns, and experience a polished experience with some of the greatest characters in any Sega game.
Listen, I don’t think there’s a better punch up game out there. Knocking back those thugs and cleaning up the streets never looked or felt so good.
And, it makes you feel like you’re part of the best neighbourhood watch brigade of all time.
Join Blaze, Max, Axel, and my personal favourite Skate as you cruise through levels kicking ass and laughing at all the odd names of the cretins that stand in your way.
15. Super Mario Kart
If you’re a gamer and have ever read one of my articles, then you should definitely have played Super Mario Kart at one point in your life.
And the good news is that if you’re a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber, you can play it handheld whenever you want.
This game is so simple to play my grandma could do it. It’s one of the best SNES games to get acquainted with the system and impossible to put down once you get going.
It doesn’t matter whether you only play PUBG or can’t move past anything scarier than Pikmin, this game is fun no matter what you’re into. Everyone loves a bit of Mazza Kart!
Ok, so the graphics look a little old skool now and the cars don’t go upside down, but it’s bona fide good old-fashioned fun and looks awesome up on the Switch.
And without this game, we never would have had Mario Kart 64. We owe it a lot!
14. DOOM 64
Doom 64 takes the 14th spot in our list of the best retro games on NIntendo Switch!
Doom Guy’s epic N64 adventure is now on the Switch in both digital and physical form. This updated port still looks and feels like the original title and retains all that nostalgic glory.
Ok, so it’s a little brighter, but it basically plays like you’ve just crammed your N64 cart into your Switch… I wish that were possible.
Of all the best Doom games, Doom 64 is my personal favourite. It might not look the best, but this thing was always in my N64 back in the day. It’s basically Doom III on steroids.
Fighting back the forces of hell on the toilet or the bus honestly never felt as good. Splatter undead monsters and creepy looking fu… I mean, bad-guys on your widescreen TV and relive 1997 without feeling your eyes explode.
Play 30 levels of blood and gore with weapons that would make Turok cry with happiness.
13. Super Mario Sunshine
The day that Mario Sunshine was announced for the Switch was one of the greatest days of my life…
… and that’s no exaggeration.
I’m pretty sure that everyone who owns a Switch has picked up a copy of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, which means they also have a copy of the game at number 6 too…
Sunshine looks utterly amazing up on the Switch. And, once again, cleaning up Isle Delfino in handheld mode makes everything 100 times better.
Seriously, paying GC games on the go is what we all want from the best retro handhelds, right?
If you’ve never played Sunshine before, then you’re in for a real treat. It might not be set in the Mushroom Kingdom, but the same ‘rescue Peach, collect stars’ formula is still the main premise.
And for once, Bowser isn’t the main antagonist!
Team up with Yoshi, use Professor E. Gadd’s FLUDD machine, and pump Petey Piranha full of water every chance you get.
12. Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening takes the 12th spot in this list of the best retro games on Nintendo Switch!
I grabbed a copy of the Switch port on release day while I was stuck in a small Italian town after breaking down in my camper van. Needless to say, this helped to pass the time while sat out on the balcony of my AirBNB sipping a cold lager in the sun.
It’s a hard life being a writer…
This game has loads of characters from the Mario universe such as Goombas and Cheep Cheeps, as well as Zelda baddies like Moblins and Chu-chus.
This game was never supposed to be a Zelda title; Shigeru Miyamoto saw potential in it and added it into his domain. Thats why it’s a bit of a mish-mash.
Don’t be fooled though; this is one of my favourite Zelda games of all time, even though the ending is a little dissapointing…
Instead of fighting through Hyrule, Link must uncover the mysteries of Koholint Island and gather musical instruments to wake the Wind Fish.
Find secret Seashells and dive into Dampe’s dungeon making mode to create your own amazing levels!
11. Castlevania: Bloodlines
Castlevania: Bloodlines is another title that’s recently appeared on the Switch thanks to the Sega Nintendo Switch Online expansion pack.
So, what’s the score in Bloodlines?
Well, we’re in the middle of WW1. Dracula’s niece is the one that caused all the conflict and she’s hoping to eradicate humans from the world.
Seriously, why cant vampires be more like that lot from Twilight instead? Don’t they just eat deer or something and keep themselves to themselves?
As with every Castlevania game, gamers start off wielding the legendary whip of the Belmont clan, collecting more weapons as they progress through the game.
Castlevania titles own the action/RPG genre (in fact, I think it was probably created specifically for the series).
If you played this on the Genesis or Mega Drive back in the day and want to relive the 16-bit goodness on Switch, then get that expansion bought immediately.
F-Zero marks the halfway point in our best retro games on Nintendo Switch compendium. It’s the game that brought the legend that would later go on to shout FALCOOOOON PUUUNNNCHHHH every weekend through my TV screen while playing Super Smash Bros.
If you’ve just played Mario Kart and think that you can jump straight into F-Zero, then think again. This futuristic space-age racer is faster than Lewis Hamilton fast-forward.
Danger doesn’t lie around every corner; it’s on every straight, behind you, in front of your, to the side, and probably above too.
Bashing into the electrified sides of the track or other players will result in damage. There are healing strips and boost bars to drive over, just make sure you don’t explode before you reach the finish line!
9. Okami HD
Fans of the Wind Waker will be all over Ōkami HD. Director Hideki Kamiya publicly expressed his love of the Zelda series and cited it as a major inspiration for this game, which can only ever be a good thing.
At least he admitted it rather than the guys behind Fenyx Immortals Rising and Windbound…
Ōkami has an instantly recognisable watercolour style to it. Many of the levels feel like they’re moving and shifting along with you as you move through the game, especially when you’re wielding the Celestial Brush!
Play as Amaterasu, a goddess of the sun that can become a sleek whit wolf names Shiranui. Using the celestial brush, she must bring life back to a bleak world.
The HD version of this game is a wonder to behold. I’d go as far as to say that it’s a genuine work of art, the kind of creation that Bob Ross might come up with, even!
8. Golden Axe
Golden Axe takes the 8th position in our best retro games on Nintendo Switch compendium, bringing old-skool hack and slash vibes to 2021!
I know some of you might have rediscovered this game again thanks to the Sega Mega Drive mini in recent years, but playing it (you guessed it) handheld mode never gets old.
Thwart Death Adder and the forces of evil who have caused a whole heap of havoc as well as stealing the Golden Axe.
Choose from a Warrior, an Amazon, or a Dwarf as you kill everything that stands in your way in this horizontal brawler.
Use magic, pick up food, and pitch yourself against enemies on the ground and in the sky. Honestly, if you love Gauntlet games, then go back to the source and try this epic game!
7. Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4 took the whole Resident Evil franchise to a-whole-nother-level. We’re talking over the shoulder camera angles, zombies that fight back and gang up on you, and a new setting outside of Racoon City.
The new location – Spain, and a village full of residents that have had their brains messed up by a cell-chomping parasite.
Some of you might already know this from reading my words on this game in previous articles, but Resident Evil 4 was only ever supposed to come out for the GameCube. It sold 10-million copies all in all over multiple platforms, a massive success story!
So, let’s talk about the Zombies in this game.
Instead of just wandering about aimlessly, they team up to try and trap you and attack you with everything from power tools to explosives.
Probably to make it easier for them to eat you.
Just get those bullets in their head and have done with it. Don’t give them chance to have a bite of anything, not even an ear lobe!
6. Super Mario 64
If you got as excited as I did about Super Mario Sunshine, then the chances are you’re also making the most of Super Mario 64, one of the most anticipated best retro games on Nintendo Switch!
This game is the whole reason we got excited about the idea of an N64 gameboy and the N64 mini.
Yeah we’ve played SM64 on handhelds like the GameBoy 1Up, but having an actual copy on the Switch feels way better.
SM64 looks superb on our TVs now thanks to a little HD sprucing. Nintendo have kept the feel pof the game intact instead of smoothing everything out and doing a remake which I like.
Ok, so it’s not widescreen when in TV mode, but who cares. This game was never meant to be played on newer TVs, so we’re just glad that it works at all!
And perhaps the best part – no claw hand cramp from using the N64 remote!
5. Super Metroid
Everyone’s favourite Bounty Hunter grappling hooks into 5th place in our list of the best retro games on Nintendo Switch. Sorry, Django, we’re obviously talking about Samus in Super Metroid.
Samus Aran is 100% the most badass character that Nintendo have ever created, With a plasma cannon, the most iconic battle suit of all time, and a ship that basically resembles her helmet, she is one major boss.
Travel to Zebes to take a junior Metroid from the infamous Space Pirate Ridley. Games just don’t have elevator pitches like that anymore.
Grapple up to otherwise unreachable levels and aim in a whopping eight different directions as you move through each level.
Pop into a morph ball to roll around faster and enter tiny pipes too. Yes, Samus is the gift that keeps on giving.
Some of the bosses in this game are too big to be allowed too. Taking them down is a task and a half, so pump them full of plasma before they have a chance to squash you flat.
Then, when you’ve completed the final level, take a look at the best Metroid ROM hacks of all time and experience some brand new adventures.
4. Donkey Kong Country
Mr Miyamoto might not have been the biggest fan of the pre-rendered graphics in Donkey Kong Country, but this game sums up the SNES for me in a nutshell.
My cousin and I used to play this game for hours when I was a kid, swapping whenever we died… which was usually often on the cart riding levels.
Two apes riding around on a Rhino defeating crocodiles. Yes, it’s the story of champions and a real classic adventure that launched Donkey Kong to his fame and helped to eradicate that business with him attacking Mario.
Everyone has a dark past…
I’ve never really figured out why King K.Rool, a croc, would like to steal a monkey’s bananas. It just doesn’t make sense; surely crocodiles can’t even open bananas?
Collect the stolen ‘nanas, grab KONG letters hidden through each level, and kick K.Rool’s minions into the dust at every turn.
… I’m going to take a little break now and have a bash at a few levels on Nintendo Switch Online… see you in a bit.
3. Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Ok, so I may have taken a slightly longer break than anticipated and gone on to play Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for a few hours… never mind!
If Mario is Nintendo’s golden boy, then Sonic is undoubtedly Sega’s and one of the most iconic gaming faces of all time.
Heck, Sonic scented candles are now a thing; the world has gone Sonic mad!
This is still my favourite Sonic game of all time; it’s timeless and features the Emerald Hill Zone for crying out loud – what more do you need to know!
From Casino Night to the impenetrable Death Egg, Sonic and Tails have to retrieve Chaos Emeralds and defeat Doctor Robotnik, saving animals and picking up rings and powerups along the way.
I do have a confession to make, however… I never completed this game until I was in my late teens. Yes I know it’s bad, but cut me some slack. I was a kid when I first played it and you couldn’t save progress!
Still, I’ve more than made up for it in my adult years and never miss a chance to test my skills in the the Wing Fortress!
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Do I even need to write anything about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?
It’s one of the best Zelda games of all time, the best N64 games ever made, and definitely one of my all time favourite adventure games.
Whether playing on the 3DS or N64, battling Bongo Bongo and Twinrova never, ever gets boring.
From besting Queen Gohma to pulling out the Master Sword, to the final showdown with Ganondorf, this game is utter perfection.
Yes, this title really changed my life and made me the gamer I am today!
The whole story is a fantasy lovers dream. Ganondorf is up there with Darth Vader and Sauron in my opinion as one of the best bad-guys of all time.
Link never gives up or shies away from a fight though, and Zelda is one of the most courageous characters in any computer game.
This is getting a little bit embarrassing how much I’m fanboying now; if you like your games with a cracking story and lots of puzzles to delve into and have somehow never played this game before, then get it on Nintendo Switch Online IMMEDIATELY.
1. Mario Kart 64
And finally, Mario Kart 64 takes the golden trophy in our best retro games on Nintendo Switch article!
Having the ability to play Mario Kart 64 online with friends instantly shoots this game to the top spot. I know I’m all about couch multiplayer titles, but that’s just something that I never thought would happen in a million years!
Play all the greats from Toads Turnpike to Bowser’s Castle, collecting powerups and dropping items to stop your opponents in their tracks.
Mario Kart 64 is unashamedly simple too.
Of course I love Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but you know where you stand with the 64 version. No karts to choose from, no wheels to change; just get in your kart and go!
Yes, one of the best Mario multiplayer games is without a shadow of a doubt the best retro game on the Nintendo Switch. Grab the expansion pack now and get racing!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.